Austin Johnson- NT/DT Penn ST

6-4 1/2, 310, (O) 5.32, Split-1.86

7.84 3-Cone, 4.75 Short Shuttle, 

32 3/4" Arms, 25 Reps.

26" Vert, 8'1" Broad

The Penn State Three: Part III.

By TOM

Johnson is a big man. He was a pure Nose Tackle prospect who garnered 6.5 sacks last season to show he had some potential as a D-Tackle in a 4-3. "We always think that we could have played better, could have made a tackle here,'' Johnson said, who got a lot better last season. "We both just feel like we shouldn't get blocked and that's what makes us such a good combination. Obviously, I'm going to set my goals high but I'm definitely playing a lot better than I played last year. I thought I had an OK year but I'm always striving to get better.''  He also garnered 15 TFL, even though he is the NT other teams double. Not Zettel, even though Zettel was considered the better player coming into the 2015 season. 

He does a good job tracking the RB to the other side while holding off the O-linemen grabbing him from behind. "I'm going to talk about Zettel and Austin Johnson if you don't mind,'' Mangiro said. "He runs down the line and moves like a man 50 pounds lighter than him.'' Shows some speed for his size, when stunting behind Zettel and can get to the QB. He is so good at crossing the OC and taking down the RB on a dive to the other side. He has some real quick feet when he heads up field. He can make the RB miss in the lane, and then hit the QB.

When you look at some of the stats and players who they compared to at Penn State, it is very impressive: Johnson has been a force up front for the Nittany Lions with 78 tackles, which is third on the team. He also has 6.5 sacks and 15.0 tackles for loss this season. His 78 stops are third among defensive tackles in FBS and the most by a Nittany Lion defensive lineman since Jimmy Kennedy had 87 stops in 2002. Johnson has four outings this season with at least nine tackles. Johnson is also second on the team with 13.0 tackles for loss. He registered his first career touchdown with a 71-yard fumble return. The fumble recovery was the fourth of his career and Penn State's first fumble recovery for a touchdown since Mike Hull's 74-yard return vs. Navy in 2012. He tallied a career-high 10 tackles, including eight solo stops, at Northwestern. He also had a sack and two tackles for loss against the Wildcats.

He really stepped it up this past season. "Austin has been an impact player on this team and leader for us on defense," the HC of PSU James Franklin said. "We appreciate all of his contributions to the program. He has also excelled off the field, earning his degree in just three and a half years. We're excited to see him continue his career in the NFL and wish him nothing but success." He is going to surprise a lot of guys who seem him as a pure Nose Tackle.

He is a freakish athlete for a Nose Tackle looking dude. "I scooped it up, and I see I have to out-run one man, and I start cruising from there," Johnson said. "While I was running, I was thinking to myself: 'Oh my goodness. It's about to go down.'" He returned a 71-yard scoop and score for a TD against San Diego State. 

Junior Season Honors and Awards: Selected second team All-Big Ten by the media and third team All-Big Ten by the coaches…Named to the BTN.com All-Big Ten squad…Named to ESPN.com All-Big Ten team…Earned first team All-Big Ten from the Associated Press and Athlon Sports...Was a part of the midseason Bednarik Award Watch List for the Nation’s Defensive Player of the Year…Selected to ESPN.com’s midseason All-Big Ten team…Selected as the Reid-Robinson Award winner for the team’s most outstanding defensive lineman.

The trouble is that he was a pure NT coming into the 2015 season. "Austin, I block even more as a 1-technique,'' Penn ST OC/OG Angelo Mangiro said. "My man's gotten real strong in the offseason, and he's going to be a heck-of-ah player for us in the fall. You gotta be so precise with him, especially getting my 'stab' hand in on him. If I don't get my stab hand, by stab hand I mean my off-hand, not my snap hand, it's just going to be hard to block him in the pass game.'' But he exploded this season into the backfield, like no one could block him in the pass game. I can't emphasis how much better he was in 2015.

He reminds me of Malcolm Brown from last year. He was just too good to pass up at 32. Even with the signings of Pot Roast and Kearse, they cannot pass on Austin if he is on the Board at 60. "Just depending on the team, I'll maybe take more double-teams,'' Johnson said. "To me, I've done that for a long time and it shouldn't make a difference on how I play. I should split a double-team every play if I have to. To me, I should have the same amount of tackles as Zettel, which would be nice but I would have to split the double-team to do that. But I've been doing that for so long that I feel I should be doing that. I don't make any excuses. If I get double-teamed, I should get around it.'' He has had more tackles, TFL, Sacks, and double teams than Zettel last year. I think he has come close to stepping up to the level of Brown two years ago.

He has taken a giant step forward this past off season. "I buy all of these summer football magazines,'' Shoop said. "I was just looking through the Lindy's Pro Football Preview and I was looking at some of the sizes of these defensive tackles in the NFL and [Austin is] the prototype. And don't think that we don't stick it to him a little bit that these preseason conference, All-Conference teams come out and he's either 3rd-team or omitted from them in some way shape or form. He's well aware of those types of things and he's got a fire lit under him." He was not nearly as good as Zettel in 2014, and was clearly the better player on every level in 2015.

One of the most athletic members of the squad, Johnson’s 6-4, 325-pound frame is complemented by his precise footwork and evolving technique.  Johnson is among the Nittany Lions that are on schedule to graduate in December, looking to earn his degree in journalism in just 3.5 years.    He is one of 14 returning Nittany Lions from New Jersey. Massive DT who uses his size and hands well to get pressure."  

He had a 71-yard fumble recovery scoop and score for a touchdown. "Definitely, I hear about that,'' Johnson said about Shoop trying to motivate him. "I just want to get better and it pushes me in the weight room and when I'm doing football drills outside." It clearly work this past off season. The question is can he take another giant step forward this off season.

2015 Season: Started 13 games…Ranked second on the team with 15.0 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks…Returned a fumble 71 yards for his first career touchdown (high school or college) vs. San Diego State (9/26)…Second among defensive linemen in FBS and third on the team with 78 tackles…Had most tackles for a Penn State defensive lineman since Jimmy Kennedy (87) in 2002…Graduated in December with a degree in journalism…One of 13 Nittany Lions to earn their degree in December…One of 17 Nittany Lions to have their degree at the TaxSlayer Bowl. at Temple (9/5): Recorded six stops…Made a tackle for loss in the fourth quarter…Helped Penn State pile up 15.0 TFL, its most since posting 15.0 vs. Michigan on Sept. 22, 2007. Buffalo (9/12): Registered nine tackles to help the Nittany Lions hold the Bulls to 69 rushing yards, the fewest for an opponent since Illinois (68 yds.) last year…Had 2.5 tackles for loss, including 1.5 sacks…Posted a solo sack in the second quarter and combined with Garrett Sickels for a third-quarter takedown of Bulls quarterback Joe Licata. Rutgers (9/19): Recorded six tackles…Collected a fourth-quarter sack…Notched 2.0 tackles for loss for 11 yards…Part of a defense that held Rutgers to just three points, the fewest in a Big Ten opener since limiting Minnesota to three points in 1994…Helped limit Rutgers to 43 rushing yards, the fewest since giving up just 33 yards to Maryland last season. San Diego State (9/26): Had a 71-yard fumble return for a touchdown for his first career touchdown…Was his fourth career fumble recovery and Penn State’s first fumble recovery for a touchdown since Mike Hull’s 74-yard return vs. Navy in 2012…Recorded two tackles…Added 0.5 tackle for loss to assist Penn State amassing 9.0 TFLs in the game. Army (10/3): Recorded four tackles. Indiana (10/10): Logged nine tackles…Totaled 1.5 tackles for loss, including one sack…Helped snap Indiana’s string of nine games in which the Hoosiers scored 20-plus points…Part of a defense that held Indiana to 234 yards of total offense, the fewest allowed by PSU since giving up 221 at Indiana in 2014…Played a major role in limiting IU to just 79 rushing yards, the second-straight B1G opponent with less than 80 yards rushing vs. Penn State…Was the coaching staff’s Co-Defensive Player of the Week with Carl Nassib. at Ohio State (10/17): Made four tackles…Posted one pass breakup. vs. Maryland (10/24): Made nine stops, marking the third time this season he has recorded nine stops…Logged 1.5 tackles for loss. Illinois (10/31): Recorded five tackles, including a sack…Part of a defense that posted its first Big Ten shutout since blanking Minnesota in 2009 (20-0)…Helped hold Illinois to just 167 yards (37 rushing, 130 passing), the fewest allowed since holding Minnesota to 138 yards (37 rushing, 101 passing) in 2009…As a unit, the defense forced a punt on 12 of Illinois’ 15 possessions, with two ending with a turnover on downs and the other halted by an interception. at Northwestern (11/7): Posted a career-high 10 tackles to tie for the game high…Recorded 2.0 tackles for loss to help Penn State record its 18th straight game with at least five tackles for loss…Logged 1.0 sack…The defense posted 10.0 tackles for loss, marking the seventh time this season and fourth straight game it recorded nine or more TFLs. Michigan (11/21): Recorded four tackles…Made 1.0 tackles for loss…Helped hold Michigan to less than 100 yards rushing, the fifth Penn State opponent that failed to reach 100 rushing yards (87 on 30 carries). at Michigan State (11/28): Made two tackles. vs. Georgia (1/2): Ranked second on the team with eight tackles, including four solo…Logged 1.0 sack, a fourth quarter takedown of Greyson Lambert for a loss of nine yards…Also registered 2.0 tackles for loss, including a stop of Keith Marshall for a loss of four yards on Georgia’s final drive of the game, giving Penn State an opportunity to tie the score late in the fourth quarter. .

I like how he keeps his hands moving and shoving when he is well blocked. He never seems to be pushed back. He holds off blockers with his powerful hands, and keeps his powerful legs moving forward. "He definitely has a bright future and he's going to help us," PSU DC Shoop said before the season. "I expect him to come out and have an All-Conference type of season.'' He is the kind of Nose Tackle type that would have been a lock in the 1st 10 to 15 years ago. Now he is probably a 2nd Round pick, who will still play in the NFL for a decade. He has nice quick feet that you can see when he charges towards the QB sometimes, and the QB tries to juke him.

He has a nice little Swim move inside. Nice powerful hands for grabbing and controlling blockers. "Austin has been an impact player on this team and leader for us on defense," PSU HC James Franklin said. "We appreciate all of his contributions to the program. He has also excelled off the field, earning his degree in just three and a half years. We're excited to see him continue his career in the NFL and wish him nothing but success." Massive DT who uses his size and hands well to get pressure. He controls the middle as one of the top 1-Techs in this Draft. Plus, he unleashes a rush just enough to scare QBs. Nice heavy hands in stack and shed drill.

There are not a lot of guys in this Draft as stout and stubborn in run defense as this guy. He is not a consistent rusher, but he is a better rusher than given credit. He does a real nice job of shrinking the pocket in front of the QB. He is absolutely great at dancing in front of the QB when he tries to flee the pocket straight up field, and doesn’t let him fly free to the second level. He has great dancing bear feet when he is in space in front of the QB.

Additional Notes:

Georgia: He is still the guy teams double in the middle. Very tough holding up against blocks coming right at him in the run game. He does a good job keeping the OC moving backwards until the QB  throws. They do like to slant a lot on run downs. When he comes off the snap low, he can get to the RB with some great power. When he sees it he is tough to stop. He has the power to drive the OC straight back into the QB as he is throwing. 

Illinois: He is the guy that makes everyone around him better. He grabs the attention of blockers so Nassib and Zettel can burst up field. He gets doubled a lot, but can still burst up field and sack the QB. He did it twice against Illinois. I was not expecting that, as I saw him as a pure NT.

The Penn State Three Vs Ohio State 2015:

Zettel #98 is a very hit or miss player. He is pure penetration like Easley was at FLA ST. Here he is a 3-Tech blasting up the middle. He is pure explosion off the snap, and his best position in the NFL might be as a designated inside rusher. Ohio State is Zoning blocking to the Blindside, watch how he blasts past the ORT and is in the RB's face as he is getting the ball from the QB. He is a pure one-gapper, who disrupts blocking schemes more than makes plays. He blows the play up so the LB can make the play (:01). Here Nassib is protecting the edge, but gets distracted by a blocker going to the 2nd level. Johnson is shading the OC. He takes on the double team and follows the blocking scheme. I see him as a pure NT, but he has value for 4-3 teams as well.

Zettel bursts into the backfield going against the O-line slant, and gets in the QB's face. Nassib looks a little confused Dropping in a Zone Blitz, but gets into the passing lane nicely. Johnson follows the blocking scheme and plugs it up (:06). This is what Nassib does best. He lines up in a Wide-9, and tries to take the outside shoulder of the ORT to the QB. Zettel and Johnson switch sides. You get a nice look at Nassib's quick hands. He slaps his arms down, clubs his shoulder and almost turns the short corner (:12). Meanwhile, Johnson does what he does. He pushes the ORG back until the OC doubles him to stop him from shrinking the pocket. 

Here is Nassib as a more traditional D-End. Watch the speed to power, as he pushes the ORT inside into the RB. Then watch how he read the QB, and sheds the ORT with his hands like the QB has the ball. Johnson gets good push right off the snap and shoves the ORG back. He forces the RB to cut back to the blindside (:27). Nassib tries to split the double, but gets caught. He gets shoved back three yards by the double before he can shed them. Then he gets in front of the RB and forces him to cut back as he gets tackled by the OG.

This is a great play by Nassib. He blasts off through the tight end zone blocking inside. When the RB tries to cut back he sheds the TE and jumps on top of him, but he falls off the tackle. Johnson lined up at 3-Tech. He is doubled and holds his ground like a pillar, and helps force him to cut back. But as happens with a pure one-gapers at 3-Tech, Zettel gets pushed back, and then falls out of the hole shedding the ORG (:37-38). Johnson and Nassib take down the right side of the line and force the RB to the Blindside (:50). Odd front with Nassib at 9-Tech, Zettel as the blindside DE. Johnson alone in the middle as the Nose tackle. Johnson gets a nice blast off and puts the Center on skates. Then he is knocked sideways by the OLG's double. Zettel tries to Rip under Taylor, but Taylor just grabs a hold of his shirt, and is too big and strong for Zettel, whose biggest weakness is his strength (:59). Meanwhile Nassib just does his thing. He is a bigger Mike Vrabel. Watch him put speed to power and Bull the ORT back towards the QB. But at the last second the ORG Elfin dives over and shoves him outside past the QB. 

Johnson powers into the OC, then follows the blocking scheme. He sees the QB has the ball, and watch how quickly he shoves off the OC and goes and attacks Braxton Miller in the backfield, but Miller is too quick for him. However, watch Nassib. He rides the TE inside, following the scheme. He sees Miller has the ball stops and sheds. Then he goes and gets Miller, but Miller is too shifty for big D-linemen to grab when he can see them. But Nassib was there. He whiffs, regains his balance, and then tackles Miller from behind. That is a great hustle play by Nassib (1:09). This is nice team work. Watch Nassib stunt inside, and trap three blockers in there. Johnson stunts outside and finds a lane to the QB inside the ORT. But he sees the QB winding up so he stops, and times his leap perfectly to knock the pass down (1:09). That play was made possible by the great teamwork by Nassib who blocked four O-linemen inside on the stunt.

Ohio State spreads it out again, and Nassib goes to 9-Tech. This is what he does best. He gets the outside shoulder of the ORT, and is very adept at dipping under him. But watch the hands here. He beats the ORT so badly that he just has to double slap his hands down, and he is chasing the QB out of the pocket. And of course Johnson just does what he does. He absorbs the double team block in the middle so his fast teammates can get up field (1:28). Watch how Elflein watches Johnson for a split second too long, and turns too late to help the ORT. Johnson really occupied three blockers on that play.

Zettel got beat up a little and put on the bench for a while. Now he is back in at 3-Tech. Watch how he explodes up field right through the scheme and gets tackled by Elflein. That is an obvious Hold that would have been called at Penn. When he is not exploding into the backfield, he can be a liability. But there are not a lot of guys in this Draft who can consistently disrupt as much as he does (1:38). Watch Johnson shed the OC and keep his mammoth body in front of Barrett like a dancing bear. Nassib blows up the blocking scheme of two blockers and the RB, and forces Barrett to keep the ball on the Option run.

Zettel is in at 4-Tech. He fights into the backfield through the OLG. Johnson goes in as the 3-Tech, and I like this fight. He tries to swim over Elflein. But Elflein shows some nice hands fighting off Johnson's hands. He sees Elliot cut inside, and cuts him off. Now watch this agility and quickness for a NT. Elliot read the block, and bounces it to the other side of Elflein. Johnson spins through Elflein's hold and engulfs Elliot like a tidal wave (1:49). Nassib also does a great job. He gets into the ORT, and reads the Option run so he stops. Then he fights off the Hold by the ORT, sheds him, and flashes himself into the RB.

Ohio State runs a ton of misdirection plays, and this is a great example. All three of the Penn State Three get destroyed by the misdirection run here (1:59). Goal line! Or at least short yardage by the goal line. Here is another great example of Ohio State's misdirection play. Nassib sets the edge, and then bounces inside thinking Elliot has the ball. Zettel is in at 3-tech and tries to swim into the hole (2:09). Johnson goes to power into the hole for Elliot, sees the hole developing to his left, and starts moving into it. Barrett reads the movement of the Pen State Three perfectly and kept the ball. Johnson tries to shed the OC and gets to the other side, but he was trapped. That was a great example of the Option QB reading the Option run perfectly.

This is what Zettel does best. He moves up field, double hand slaps the OG's arms, and turns the short corner into the backfield. He doesn't make as many plays as you'd like, but like Easley he disrupts a lot of plays so his teammates can make the play (2:14). Zettel, in at 4-Tech, puts a little speed to power, but gets stopped by the double. Johnson, in at 3-Tech, uses his quick hands brilliantly to free himself from two blockers, and then uses his quick feet to stay in front of Barrett in case he takes off. That is an great example of some great movement skills by a 320-pound NT (2:23). This is why I had Nassib as a 1st. I know he is a one year wonder, but what a one year. He uses his burst and hands to undress the ORT, which he consistently does on passing downs. Then he absorbed the hit of Elliot, and powers to the QB and forces him to throw.

Zettel tends to play his best between Nassib and Johnson, for obvious reasons. He tends to struggle with stoutness as he tries to burst into the backfield every play. But he does a good job of getting low and holding the point here. Nassib does a nice job powering inside on the misdirection play. Johnson clogs the middle up nicely. But Barrett reads it right, and takes off to his left (2:31). Short yardage and they run away from the Penn State Three (2:45). They line up Johnson and Nassib on the QB's right, so Ohio State runs to the left (3:05). Penn State has to adjust. When they take Zettel out or line him up between Nassib and Johnson, the D-line gets a little too unbalanced.

So they shift #91 between Nassib and Zettel, and Johnson shades the OC to the Blindside, and they put a DE, a DB, and linebackers on that side as well. That forces Ohio State to run right with scheme. Johnson gets stuck inside, as he was looking to the Blindside, and Nassib doesn't set the edge with enough aggression to stop the speed of Miller (3:15). Nassib is pissed and burst up field right off the snap. That lack of discipline allows Elliot to cut back under his pass rush. This Tape is really showing how Ohio State figures out what you are doing and kills you with Elliot and Miller (3:26). Johnson gets trapped inside by the double team by the OC and Elflein. 

Zettel (1-Tech) and Johnson do a great job of clogging the middle of the line. They occupy three blockers, until Elflein can jump past Johnson (and I really like the way Johnson will grab the OG and hold him while he is being blocked by the OC), so the other guys can make the play (3:34). But this is a great play by Nassib. He powers straight into the ORT's chest. He digs him back and gets him just off balance enough. Elliot hits the hole, but Johnson had grabbed hold of Elflein and won't let him lead Elliot to the second level. Elliot has to dance to the right, and Nassib dives on him from behind and takes him down. I like to judge guys when everything is going wrong. Penn State was punched in the face with jab after jab in the run game. Then the Penn State Three all stepped up with great run defense on this play.

Nassib bursts inside with the greatest of ease, and smashed right into Elliot. But Barrett read it perfect and kept it for the big run. Johnson does a great job pounding the OC to the ground, but just misses Barrett's feet as he runs past him (3:40). Nassib and Johnson combine again for great run defense to stuff the RB (3:48). They line up Zettel between Nassib and Johnson again. When Nassib uses his burst and hands together he gets into the backfield as quick as anyone (3:57). Johnson and Zettel slanted to the blindside, expecting the blindside run that was killing them when they lined up Nassib between the other two.

They wing it outside on a WR screen. Watch the hustle of Johnson who gets all the way out there to get in front of the WR (4:05). Watch the great defense of Johnson in at 1-Tech. He sheds two blockers with his hands and crushes Elliot (4:12). Johnson lines up on the Nose. Watch the quick lateral burst, and club. Then he has a lane to the QB that is so big the blitzing LB steals it. He plays so well with his hands and feet in balance with power (4:20). All three guys plug up the middle nicely (4:37). But watch Nassib here. It is easy to forget that he is a 270-pound passrusher. Watch him throw the ORT to the ground with hip torque and hands. Absorb the block of the pulling OLG with his size and shoulder pads. Then he finds the ball carrier in the middle of that massive traffic jam, and makes the tackle. That is a truly great play there.

This is another elite play by the Penn State Three. Nassib and and Zettel clog it up on the strongside, and force Miller to redirect back to the other side. Watch Johnson redirect as well and shadow Miller at the LOS. That is a very large man dancing around the field (4:44). Nassib takes off and beats the ORT to the corner, and flushes the QB (4:53). But you also have to watch Zettel as well. He bursts up field from the 4-Tech. He angles inside a little, and spins inside off the OLG. He sees Braxton take off, and redirects back outside by clubbing the OLG inside. Then he puts his hands up to defend the pass, and grabs the QB and holds him up. Which allows Nassib to sprinting in from behind and knock him 5-yards forward.

Nassib is an amazing speed rusher for such a big guy. He checked in at his Proday at a shade under 280-pounds. He just uses his elite blast off to Dip and Rip around the Corner and crush the QB. That is another great pass rush (5:20). Both Zettel and Johnson get great rushes up the gut by turning the short corner. This forces Barrett to try and dump it off outside, but Nassib was there dancing around the edge, and he leaps up and knocks it down (5:33). Nassib uses a great inside move, after two straight outside moves, and forces Elliot inside (5:42). Where Zettel and Johnson were clogging it up. Zettel got pushed back a little by Elflein, but made the tackle.

Johnson is such a great Nose Tackle. Watch how he holds onto the OC, until Elliot reaches him. Then he uses hip torque and his hands and throws the OC aside and jumps on Elliot. Zettel also does a nice job. He absorbs the double, splits it, and gets in on the tackle (5:52). Johnson and Zettel do a nice job reading the option run. and put a beating on Barnett (6:00). Nassib and Johnson did great jobs shedding the linemen and going inside and getting the RB, but Barrett read it and kept it (6:09). They got burned by the QB running two plays in a row. Johnson holds up the middle of the line to unleash Nassib (6:31). Nassib burst past the ORT, ignoring the misdirection. He sees Barrett keep it, and Sacks him again. That was a great play by Nassib.

Nassib drops into coverage on the Zone Blitz, but can't catch Barrett in the open field. He looked like he was 280-pounds on that play (6:52). Nassib out wide in the 9-Tech. He flashes inside and gets hurt by the great block by Vannett. But watch Johnson at the 4-Tech. He head butts right into the OLG and knocks him back. Watch him just stand their and control him. He fakes inside a little, and gets the RB to bounce around the OLT, and clubs to the other side of the OLG and tackles the RB (7:12). Meanwhile Nassib gets blown off the line by Elflein. But watch how he sheds Elflein and gets back in on the play.

Then Ohio State beats up on them for a while with misdirection plays away from the Penn State Three. So they line the three guys up inside and force the issue. Nassib and Johnson clog up the Dive, and Nassib dismisses the ORT inside with his hands and feet, and crushes the RB (7:56). Another great inside move by Nassib, and Johnson gets inside the OC as well. But Elliot is too quick in the cutback (8:01). Nassib is completely fooled by the play action, and Johnson and Zettel aren't far behind (8:12). Okay, at the Five with everything on the line. Ohio State scores, game over man (8:20). And they run a fake Shotgun Dive that the Penn State Three stuff, and Barnett flicks it over the top to end the game.

Penn ST Three Vs Ohio ST 2015:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRZtpsz3IQ4

 

 

#

Johnson's Official Bio:

➤ 2015 ➤ Junior Season: Awards: Selected second team All-Big Ten by the media and third team All-Big Ten by the coaches…Named to the BTN.com All-Big Ten squad…Named to ESPN.com All-Big Ten team…Earned first team All-Big Ten from the Associated Press and Athlon Sports...Was a part of the midseason Bednarik Award Watch List for the Nation’s Defensive Player of the Year…Selected to ESPN.com’s midseason All-Big Ten team…Selected as the Reid-Robinson Award winner for the team’s most outstanding defensive lineman.
Season: Started 13 games…Ranked second on the team with 15.0 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks…Returned a fumble 71 yards for his first career touchdown (high school or college) vs. San Diego State (9/26)…Second among defensive linemen in FBS and third on the team with 78 tackles…Had most tackles for a Penn State defensive lineman since Jimmy Kennedy (87) in 2002…Graduated in December with a degree in journalism…One of 13 Nittany Lions to earn their degree in December…One of 17 Nittany Lions to have their degree at the TaxSlayer Bowl. at Temple (9/5): Recorded six stops…Made a tackle for loss in the fourth quarter…Helped Penn State pile up 15.0 TFL, its most since posting 15.0 vs. Michigan on Sept. 22, 2007. Buffalo (9/12): Registered nine tackles to help the Nittany Lions hold the Bulls to 69 rushing yards, the fewest for an opponent since Illinois (68 yds.) last year…Had 2.5 tackles for loss, including 1.5 sacks…Posted a solo sack in the second quarter and combined with Garrett Sickels for a third-quarter takedown of Bulls quarterback Joe Licata. Rutgers (9/19): Recorded six tackles…Collected a fourth-quarter sack…Notched 2.0 tackles for loss for 11 yards…Part of a defense that held Rutgers to just three points, the fewest in a Big Ten opener since limiting Minnesota to three points in 1994…Helped limit Rutgers to 43 rushing yards, the fewest since giving up just 33 yards to Maryland last season. San Diego State (9/26): Had a 71-yard fumble return for a touchdown for his first career touchdown…Was his fourth career fumble recovery and Penn State’s first fumble recovery for a touchdown since Mike Hull’s 74-yard return vs. Navy in 2012…Recorded two tackles…Added 0.5 tackle for loss to assist Penn State amassing 9.0 TFLs in the game. Army (10/3): Recorded four tackles. Indiana (10/10): Logged nine tackles…Totaled 1.5 tackles for loss, including one sack…Helped snap Indiana’s string of nine games in which the Hoosiers scored 20-plus points…Part of a defense that held Indiana to 234 yards of total offense, the fewest allowed by PSU since giving up 221 at Indiana in 2014…Played a major role in limiting IU to just 79 rushing yards, the second-straight B1G opponent with less than 80 yards rushing vs. Penn State…Was the coaching staff’s Co-Defensive Player of the Week with Carl Nassib. at Ohio State (10/17): Made four tackles…Posted one pass breakup. vs. Maryland (10/24): Made nine stops, marking the third time this season he has recorded nine stops…Logged 1.5 tackles for loss. Illinois (10/31): Recorded five tackles, including a sack…Part of a defense that posted its first Big Ten shutout since blanking Minnesota in 2009 (20-0)…Helped hold Illinois to just 167 yards (37 rushing, 130 passing), the fewest allowed since holding Minnesota to 138 yards (37 rushing, 101 passing) in 2009…As a unit, the defense forced a punt on 12 of Illinois’ 15 possessions, with two ending with a turnover on downs and the other halted by an interception. at Northwestern (11/7): Posted a career-high 10 tackles to tie for the game high…Recorded 2.0 tackles for loss to help Penn State record its 18th straight game with at least five tackles for loss…Logged 1.0 sack…The defense posted 10.0 tackles for loss, marking the seventh time this season and fourth straight game it recorded nine or more TFLs. Michigan (11/21): Recorded four tackles…Made 1.0 tackles for loss…Helped hold Michigan to less than 100 yards rushing, the fifth Penn State opponent that failed to reach 100 rushing yards (87 on 30 carries). at Michigan State (11/28): Made two tackles. vs. Georgia (1/2): Ranked second on the team with eight tackles, including four solo…Logged 1.0 sack, a fourth quarter takedown of Greyson Lambert for a loss of nine yards…Also registered 2.0 tackles for loss, including a stop of Keith Marshall for a loss of four yards on Georgia’s final drive of the game, giving Penn State an opportunity to tie the score late in the fourth quarter. 

➤ 2014 ➤ Sophomore Season
Awards: Named honorable-mention All-Big Ten by the conference media.

Season: Starter in all 13 games and now has 15 career starts...Finished fifth on the team with 49 tackles, 6.0 tackles for loss (minus-18) and led the team with two fumble recoveries...Added three pass breakups...Tied for seventh in the Big Ten and 43rd nationally in fumble recoveries. UCF (8/30): Opened the season with three tackles and 0.5 tackles for loss in the Croke Park Classic against UCF in Dublin, Ireland...Helped hold UCF to just 24 rushing yards on 29 attempts...Was a part of the goal line stand that held the Knights off the scoreboard on their second drive of the game. Akron (9/6): Had four tackles with 0.5 TFL...Helped hold the Zips to just 69 rushing yards, giving Penn State consecutive games allowing less than 70 rushing yards for the first time since 2009. At Rutgers (9/13): Made one stop...Part of a defensive effort that held the Scarlet Knights to no points, three first downs and 95 yards in the second half. UMass (9/20): Made two stops, including one for a loss...Had one pass breakup...Recovered his second career fumble and returned it 7 yards to set up a scoring drive that started in the UMass red zone...Helped the Nittany Lions hold the Minutemen to just 3 yards rushing, the lowest total allowed by Penn State since 2007 against Notre Dame (zero rushing yards). Northwestern (9/27): Totaled five tackles, including a 0.5 TFL...Recorded one pass breakup. At Michigan (10/11): Added two stops. Ohio State (10/25): Contributed four tackles...Was a part of a unit that held the Buckeyes to 17 points and 256 yards in regulation. Maryland (11/1): Logged six tackles...Posted a 10-yard sack...Was instrumental in limiting the Terrapins to 194 yards of total offense, the fewest total yards allowed against a Big Ten opponent since Minnesota (138, 2009). At Indiana (11/8): Contributed six tackles...Helped boost a defense that held the then-nation's leading rusher, Tevin Coleman, to just 71 yards...Helped the Nittany Lions shut out the Indiana offense, as the Hoosiers scored their fewest points at home since 2006, via a defensive touchdown. Temple (11/15): Registered four tackles, including one TFL...Added one fumble recovery and one pass breakup...Helped limit Temple to just 61 rushing yards and eight first downs, the fewest for a Penn State opponent since Indiana State had eight in 2011...Was selected the coaches' Defensive Player of the Week. At Illinois (11/22): Recorded five tackles...Added one quarterback hurry...Helped limit the Illini to 68 rushing yards and two-of-16 on third down conversions. Michigan State (11/29): Anchored a defensive front that held Michigan State to 298 total yards, marking the only time in 2014 the Spartans were limited to less than 300 yards of total offense. Boston College (12/27): Made a career-best seven tackles (four solo) in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium...Also had one TFL.

➤ 2013 ➤ Redshirt Freshman Season
Season: Appeared in all 12 games with two starts...Made his first career start against Kent State...Recorded 27 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, one sack and a fumble recovery. Syracuse (8/31): Made his collegiate debut with one tackle in the neutral site contest at MetLife Stadium. Eastern Michigan (9/7): Logged a season-high six stops...Posted his first career TFL and sack, a combined sack with DaQuan Jones in the third quarter. Kent State (9/14): Made his first career start. UCF (9/14): Contributed three stops (two solo). At Indiana (10/5): Opened Big Ten play with three stops. Michigan (10/12): Made two hits, including 1.0 TFL, in the four-overtime win. Illinois (11/2): Made his second career start...Tallied two solo tackles. At Minnesota (11/9): Posted three solo stops...Logged 1.0 tackle for loss. Purdue (11/16): Registered two tackles...Added 0.5 sack...Recovered his first career fumble to set up a third-quarter touchdown run by Zach Zwinak. At Wisconsin (11/30): Made four tackles (three solo)...Added one quarterback hurry.

➤ 2012 ➤ True Freshman Season
Redshirt season.

 

 

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